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New LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda got $165,000 up front and a three-year, $3.75M deal

Dave Aranda is making $1.2 million this year. (Michael P. KIng)

Dave Aranda is making $1.2 million this year. (Michael P. KIng)

The Tiger Athletic Foundation paid new LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda $165,000 upon his hiring – $65,000 for his Wisconsin buyout, according to a copy of his contract.

Aranda’s three-year, $3.75 million contract and a raise and extension for defensive backs coach Corey Raymond are scheduled for approval at the LSU Board of Supervisors meeting on Jan. 29, according to the board’s agenda.

Aranda, hired away from Wisconsin three weeks ago to replace Kevin Steele, is set to make $1.2 million this year. His salary increases by $50,000 each year – $1.25 million in 2017 and $1.3 million in 2018. Steele signed a two-year deal worth $1 million a year.

Aranda’s deal ends on March 31, 2019, giving him the longest contract of any current LSU assistant. He’s the only one with a contract that spans more than two years.

BX208_0FE6_9As FoxSports.com reported three weeks ago, Aranda’s contract does not include a clause tying him to head coach Les Miles. Every other assistant’s contract would end six months after Miles was terminated or left his job.

Aranda does not have to pay a buyout if he leaves for a head coaching job. He must pay 50 percent of his remaining salary if he leaves for a non-head coaching job in the Southeastern Conference or “a Football Bowl Subdivision football program within a 500 miles radius of LSU,” the contract reads.

He must pay 20 percent of his remaining salary if her were to leave for any other non-head coaching job.

Aranda was immediately paid $165,000 from the Tiger Athletic Foundation, $65,000 of which was for his Wisconsin buyout, his contract indicates. The additional $100,000 was for “services rendered on behalf” of TAF, the contract says.

Raymond is receiving a one-year extension through the 2017 season and a $65,000 raise, making his yearly salary $375,000. Raymond, Aranda and Miles are the only coaches on staff who have contracts that run, at least, through the 2017 football season.

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s contract ends in about two months. Athletic director Joe Alleva and Miles said earlier this month that the school is working on a new deal for Cameron.

The rest of the five assistants have contracts that end on March 31, 2017.

LSU staff pay

Name Contract expiration Salary
Les Miles Dec. 31, 2019 $4.3M
Cam Cameron March 31, 2016 $1.5M
Dave Aranda March 31, 2019 $1.2M
Ed Orgeron March 31, 2017 $450,000
Bradley Dale Peveto March 31, 2017 $450,000
Jeff Grimes March 31, 2017 $400,000
Corey Raymond March 31, 2018 $375000*
Tony Ball March 31, 2017 $310,000^
Steve Ensminger March 31, 2017 $300,000

*Recently received a 65,000 raise.

^That is Tony Ball’s 2015 salary.

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Early enrollee Dee Anderson cleared by NCAA, will enroll at LSU

Make it five.

Receiver Dee Anderson has been cleared by the NCAA and will enroll at LSU on Friday, his high school coach confirmed to The Advocate on Thursday.

Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pounder, is ranked as the 25th-best wideout in the 2016 class and gives the Tigers five early enrollees in what’s shaping up to be a historic signing class. The Tigers’ current 21-commitment recruiting crew is ranked No. 1 nationally.

Dee Anderson. (247Sports.com)

Dee Anderson. (247Sports.com)

Anderson joins IMG Academy cornerback Saivion Smith, John Ehret linebacker Michael Divinity, Donaldsonville receiver Stephen Sullivan and North Webster linebacker/running back Devin White as early enrollees. Those four enrolled and began classes last week. They are cleared for spring practice, which is expected to start in early March.

Anderson hit a snag last week, though. He needed to complete an online course and then get clearance from the NCAA.

“We’re extremely excited and happy for Dee,” Peterman said Thursday. “He’s worked hard.”

Anderson’s snag regarded his transfer before his senior season from West Mesquite to DeSoto. Anderson was dismissed from West Mesquite’s football team and then a district committee ruled him ineligible to play his senior season at DeSoto.

Anderson, who needed to return to Texas for his exam last week, is expected to arrive at LSU Friday. The final day to add classes at LSU is Monday.

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Frank Wilson hires GA Ryan Pugh as offensive line coach at UTSA

LSU graduate assistant Ryan Pugh is following former LSU assistant Frank Wilson to Texas-San Antonio, UTSA confirmed.

Ryan Pugh this past year at LSU. (Angela Major)

Ryan Pugh this past year at LSU. (Angela Major)

Wilson, the Tigers’ ex-recruiting coordinator and running backs coach, left the program last week for the head coaching job at UTSA.

Pugh, a former Auburn center, joined the LSU staff in January 2015, helping offensive line coach Jeff Grimes with the unit. Pugh, a four-year starting center for Auburn in 2007-10, played for Grimes at AU and coached with him as a grad assistant at Virginia Tech before moving to Baton Rouge.

FootballScoop.com originally reported that LSU defensive analyst and former Tigers star would join Wilson at UTSA as a defensive backs coach, but the site later reported that Jackson would remain at LSU.

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LSU receiver Travin Dural indicates he’ll return for his senior season

Travin Dural missed LSU's bowl game with his injury. (Bill Feig)

Travin Dural missed LSU’s bowl game with his injury. (Bill Feig)

LSU receiver Travin Dural indicated in an Instagram post on Friday night and a Twitter message on Saturday that he’ll return for his senior season, an expected move for the Breaux Bridge native.CYzyDn1VAAIPOnk

Dural, a 6-2, 203-pound draft-eligible junior, tore his hamstring in the 10th game of LSU’s season – a serious injury that needed surgery. Dural has a five-month recovery from hamstring surgery, he told The Advocate. He would have missed the NFL Combine, set for Feb. 23-29 and, possibly, LSU’s Pro Day, scheduled for late March.

Dural was ranked as the eighth-best player in the 2016 draft and was projected as a second-to-third round draft pick, according to CBSSports.com.

https://twitter.com/Flight83_/status/688454726979948544

Dural led LSU in receptions (37) and receiving yards (758) as a sophomore in 2014. He had 28 catches for 528 yards this past season in 10 games. Dural passed on the NFL draft after his sophomore season. He was draft-eligible after redshirting as a true freshman.

It’s unclear if Dural requested an evaluation grade from the NFL College Advisory Committee. Four of six players who requested a grade have announced their decisions. Left tackle Jerald Hawkins is turning pro, he announced. Center Ethan Pocic and defensive linemen Christian LaCouture and Lewis Neal are returning for their senior seasons, they said.

Defensive back Tre’Davious White has not made a decision, his father said Friday, but he’s back in Baton Rouge. Linebacker Kendell Beckwith has also not announced.

Underclassmen must declare by 4 p.m. (CT) Monday, and they until Friday to pull their name out of the draft.

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Frank Wilson leaving LSU: ‘Tears of joy’

Frank Wilson called leaving LSU an “emotional time,” but said his players supported the Tigers’ former recruiting coordinator and running backs coach in his venture to a head coach.

“They were super excited for me,” he said during his introductory news conference Friday. “Tears of joy.”

University of Texas-San Antonio introduced Wilson as its new coach on Friday evening with a news conference broadcast live on the school’s website.

During the 30-minute event, Wilson said he learned plenty from coach Les Miles in his six years in Baton Rouge, discussed his recruiting “process,” and called the opportunity to be a head coach too big to pass up.

Wilson said his now-former LSU players are “near and dear to me.”

“My family is eager and excited to be here and call San Antonio home,” he said. “It’s been a long, long time since we started this since I was a high school football coach. My family and I prayed, cried every moment of it.

“It’s the biggest moment of our life. Birds up!” Wilson finished, flashing the Roadrunners’ hand signal.

LSU acknowledged the departure of Wilson on Friday morning, and coach Les Miles, in a statement, says the school will miss the hotshot recruiting guru who helped deliver five top-10 class in six years in Baton Rouge.

“It stands to reason that with the success that we have had here at LSU, our coaches are going to get these types of opportunities,” Miles said in the statement. “Frank has been a big part of what we’ve accomplished at LSU both on and off the field. He’s ready to be a head coach. He’s worked long and hard for this opportunity and I couldn’t be happier for Frank and his family. He’s going to do a great job at Texas-San Antonio. We are going to miss him.”

Wilson and the Roadrunners came to a deal Thursday night for him to leave the Tigers for the Conference USA program. UTSA athletic director Lynn Hickey told the San Antonio Express-News on Friday that Wilson’s contract is a five-year deal starting with an annual salary of $650,000 – about $25,000 less than he was due to make this year at LSU.

Wilson said he has no immediate plans to return to Baton Rouge. He packed four luggage cases of clothes to last him for weeks. His family will return to Baton Rouge soon to ready for the move to San Antonio.

National signing day is just 20 days away, Wilson noted. He’ll begin recruiting and assembling a coaching staff immediately, building back up a slipping program as Miles and Co. did when Wilson arrived at LSU after the 2009 season.

“I tell you… the year I got there they had not come off a great season and learned a lot of things from Les Miles and that program on how to do these the right way. How to take your time and assess things and look at the long-term view and to rebuild it yet again from the bottom up.”

UTSA didn’t wait long to tout Wilson around San Antonio.

Wilson, a 42-year old from New Orleans, has spent six years in Baton Rouge as a key member to Miles’ coaching staff.

He’s known as one of the nation’s best recruiters. Five of the Tigers’ previous six signing classes under Wilson have been ranked in the top 10 by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. And the current one is No. 1 in the nation in three of the four major recruiting outlets.

Wilson never hid his desire recently to become a head coach. He was a finalist for the head job at Troy last season.

Wilson was the highest-paid position assistant at LSU, making $675,00 a year. He has a contract that expires on March 31, 2018 – the longest of any position assistant.

LSU is waiving Wilson’s buyout, as it normally does with assistants who leave to become head coaches, athletic director Joe Alleva said. Wilson’s buyout was about $330,000 – or 25 percent of the remaining salary on his contract.

He’s the third LSU assistant in the mix for another gig this off-season. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele left for Auburn, and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and Mississippi State were in, at least, brief discussions about the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator opening.

Orgeron, an aggressive recruiter who joined the staff last year, seems to be a natural fit to take over the recruiting part of Wilson’s job. The Louisiana native has served as recruiting coordinator at Tennessee and two stints at Southern Cal.

But who would coach running backs?

Potential candidates could include current North Carolina running backs coach Larry Porter, who spent 2005-09 coaching running backs at LSU and had a brief stint as the head coach at Memphis; Alabama running backs coach Burton Burns, a New Orleans native; Texas Tech running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, a Southern University graduate and former Louisiana Tech assistant; and Josh Henson, the former Missouri offensive coordinator who worked with Miles at Oklahoma State and LSU.

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Source: LSU RB coach/recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson leaving Tigers for head coaching job at UTSA

Frank Wilson and Les Miles. (Travis Spradling)

Frank Wilson and Les Miles. (Travis Spradling)

LSU is losing its hotshot recruiting coordinator three weeks before National Signing Day.

Frank Wilson informed coach Les Miles on Thursday evening that he’s leaving the Tigers to be the head coach at University of Texas at San Antonio, a source told The Advocate.

FootballScoop.com first reported that Wilson and UTSA were negotiating a deal for him to be the Roadrunners’ new head man. Wilson and Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer were the two finalists for the position, the site reported earlier Thursday.

Wilson, a 42-year-old from New Orleans, just completed his sixth season with the Tigers as recruiting coordinator and running backs coach. He’s helped bring in some of the nation’s best recruits while in Baton Rouge, including the Tigers’ No. 2-ranked signing group in 2014.

That class’ main star: running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette posted this message on his Twitter account on Thursday night:

Running back Nick Brossette posted a message, too.

https://twitter.com/NBrossette/status/687809307396669440

Wilson’s departure comes at a pivotal time in the recruiting period.

LSU’s current class is ranked No. 1 nationally, and National Signing Day is Feb. 3 – 20 days away. LSU plans to host more than a dozen highly touted players this weekend on official visits. LSU’s 20-person class is expected to swell to as many as 28-29, and Wilson is a key figure.

He was recruiting in New Orleans, at least earlier Thursday, with new defensive coordinator Dave Aranda. The dead period in the NCAA recruiting calendar ended Thursday, making it legal for college coaches to travel about the country visiting prospects.

Frank Wilson during a preseason camp practice in August. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Frank Wilson during a preseason camp practice in August. (HILARY SCHEINUK)

Wilson was a finalist for the head job at Troy last season, and he’s expressed interest in becoming a head coach. Wilson is the highest-paid position assistant at LSU, making $675,00 a year. He has a contract that expires on March 31, 2018 – the longest of any position assistant.

Wilson will owe LSU about $330,000 – or 25 percent of the remaining salary on his contract. LSU can waive the buyout.

Larry Coker, the former Miami coach, stepped down as coach of UTSA after last season. Under Coker’s leadership, the Roadrunners went 26-32 while the program moved from FCS to WAC to Conference USA. UTSA finished 7-5 in 2013, but has gone 4-8 and 3-9 the past two seasons.

Coker made about $427,000 a year, according to USA Today. The salary pool for the UTSA coaching staff this year was $808,000- one of the nation’s lowest.

A San Antonio TV station on Thursday night reported that Wilson would make $750,000 a year.

Wilson is known as one of the nation’s best recruiters. Five of the Tigers’ previous six signing classes under Wilson have been ranked in the top 10 by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. Wilson has never been a college head coach or a college offensive or defensive coordinator. He’s had stops as an assistant at Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Tennessee before arriving at LSU.

He’s the third LSU assistant in the mix for another gig this off-season. Defensive coordinator Kevin Steele left for Auburn, and defensive line coach Ed Orgeron and Mississippi State were in, at least, brief discussions about the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator opening.

Orgeron, an aggressive recruiter who joined the staff last year, seems to be a natural fit to take over the recruiting part of Wilson’s job. The Louisiana native has served as recruiting coordinator at Tennessee and two stints at Southern Cal.

But who would coach running backs? Potential candidates could include current North Carolina running backs coach Larry Porter, who spent 2005-09 coaching running backs at LSU and had a brief stint as the head coach at Memphis; Alabama running backs coach Burton Burns, a New Orleans native; Texas Tech running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, a Southern University graduate and former Louisiana Tech assistant; and Josh Henson, the former Missouri offensive coordinator who worked with Miles at Oklahoma State and LSU.

Wilson has made it clear that he hopes to be a head coach at some point. During an interview with The Advocate this summer, he was asked about that goal.

“It’s not a priority. In due time, when the right opportunity comes, when it’s there for me, it’ll happen,” he said. “I love my job, love where I’m at. I’m not out soliciting. I’m not willing to take any job that’s out there. Jon Gruden probably said it best, when he came back to football, he’d like to be the running backs coach at LSU.

“I’m very fortunate with the plethora of talent that we have in our backfield, assembled around a great offensive line and great defense. I like the job that I do. It’s a goal of mine, but nothing pressing that has to happen any time soon.”

Austin Thomas, LSU’s director of player personnel, posted a message on Twitter on Thursday night congratulating Wilson.

LSU quarterback Brandon Harris chimed in, too.

Former LSU signee, Zachary star Zack Von Rosenberg to walk on with Tigers

Zack Von Rosenberg during his days at Zachary.

Zack Von Rosenberg during his days at Zachary.

Zack Von Rosenberg has come full circle.

The former Zachary High pitcher and punter is walking on to the LSU football team this spring, the school announced Thursday. The 25-year-old Von Rosenberg, 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, spent 2009-2014 in the minor leagues of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization.

It’s unclear what position Von Rosenberg will play for LSU, which is expected to begin spring practice in early March. He might try several different spots, including tight end, quarterback and punter – a position in which he starred in high school.

Von Rosenberg averaged 40 yards a punt at Zachary and was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame in 2014. He excelled as a pitcher at Zachary and signed scholarship papers in 2009 to pitch for the Tigers and punt for the football team.

He scrapped that plan after the Pirates selected him in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. Von Rosenberg’s minor league career ended after the 2014 season. He made it to his career pinnacle in 2013, Advanced-A Bradenton, before being sent back down in 2014.

Von Rosenberg

Von Rosenberg

Von Rosenberg finished his pro career with an ERA of 4.52 in 332.2 innings pitched, according to baseball-reference.com. He didn’t make any starts in his last two seasons in the pros.

Because he signed a pro baseball contract, Von Rosenberg is not eligible to play college baseball.

Von Rosenberg was a first team all-state punter at Zachary, and he compiled a 42-6 record with a 0.79 ERA in baseball. He hit .474 with 10 home runs as a senior in 2009 and was named ESPN Gatorade Player of the Year. He pitched complete games in four state championship games, giving up one earned run in 28 innings.

He was first team all-state for four years in high school, all-metro MVP for 2008 and 2009, and was district MVP for two years. He was named Mr. Baseball for Louisiana in both 2008 and 2009. He was named collegiate baseball All-American in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Lewis Neal returning to LSU for senior season

Arden Key, Lewis Neal and Christian LaCouture celebrate after a sack. (Travis Spradling)

Arden Key, Lewis Neal and Christian LaCouture celebrate after a sack. (Travis Spradling)

Defensive end Lewis Neal is returning to LSU for his senior year, but it wasn’t an easy decision.

Neal, one of a few draft-eligible juniors deciding on their future, passed on entering the NFL draft and will remain in school, he announced on Twitter on Thursday.
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Neal’s mother, Cynthia, said Thursday that her son’s decision wasn’t an easy one.

“The agents were talking to him. He did have to think about it,” she said. “At the end of the day, it’s his choice. He thought about it thoroughly. … I’m happy for him. It’s his decision, his life, his future. I trust that he’s made the right decision now.”

Neal, a North Carolina native who led the team in sacks this season, was one of at least six draft-eligible LSU players mulling decisions to enter the draft. He’s the fourth of the group to make an announcement.

Left tackle Jerald Hawkins is the only one to announce his decision to leave for the draft. Center Ethan Pocic and defensive tackle Christian LaCouture both announced their intentions to stay. 

Linebacker Kendell Beckwith and cornerback Tre’Davious White, projected as second-round draft picks, have not made their decisions, their parents say. Underclassmen must declare by Monday.

White’s father, David, told The Advocate on Thursday morning that his son had not made a decision. Beckwith’s mother, Uhronda, said Monday that her son had not made a decision.

Neal started every game this season, despite playing with an injured ankle over the final month. His eight sacks led all players. Neal is listed as the ninth-best defensive end in the 2017 class, according to CBSSports.com.

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Ex-Tulane QB Tanner Lee visiting LSU this weekend

Tanner Lee. (AP)

Tanner Lee. (AP)

LSU has added an unexpected player to its list of official visitors this weekend: former Tulane QB Tanner Lee.

Lee, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound pro-style QB, started 19 games the last two seasons at Tulane before being granted his release earlier this month. In nine starts this past season, Lee threw for 1,639 yards, 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

It won’t be his first visit to LSU.

“I’ve been up there a few times. A lot of my buddies from high school are at LSU. I know what the games are like,” he said Wednesday. “I know Coach (Cam) Cameron and Coach (Les) Miles. I’m looking forward to meeting them and talking football and seeing the facilities.”

Lee, a Jesuit High product, currently does not hold an offer from LSU. Lee just completed his redshirt sophomore season, and he must sit out 2016, as part of NCAA transfer rules, if he were to attend another FBS school. That would leave him with one season of eligibility – 2017.

The NCAA restricts players to play their four seasons in a five-year window. Lee redshirted as a freshman in 2013.

Lee is petitioning the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility through a waiver process, he said. If granted, he’d be eligible in 2018 as well.

“It’s a long process,” Lee said of the waiver. “We’ve been going at it hard.”

Lee missed five games because of various injuries during his two years as starter, including a painful broken finger on his throwing hand. He tried to play through the pain at the end of the season last year before missing the finale.

Tulane went 3-9 in both of Lee’s seasons as a starter. Head coach Willie Fritz and his run-heavy attack replaced the fired Curtis Johnson after this past season.

Lee joins a list of more than a dozen players visiting LSU this weekend, including four highly touted uncommitted prospects.

Lee graduated from Jesuit in 2013 as a three-star prospect and the No. 55 pro-style quarterback in the nation, according to 247Sports.com.

LSU is on the hunt for a quarterback for the 2016 class after highly rated QB Feleipe Franks dropped his 18-month commitment to the Tigers and signed with Florida in December, enrolling early with the Gators. The Tigers do not have a QB committed in a class that currently ranked No. 1 nationally, and coach Les Miles has insisted LSU would like to sign a quarterback in the group.

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LSU confirms four early enrollees, but WR Dee Anderson yet to enroll

LSU confirmed the addition of four early enrollees on Wednesday morning, but a fifth has yet to begin classes.

Cornerback Saivion Smith, linebacker Michael Divinity, receiver Stephen Sullivan and linebacker/running back Devin White have enrolled in classes, as The Advocate reported Tuesday. Receiver Dee Anderson, a Texas native, has not.

Anderson, a 6-foot-3, 175-pounder, is ranked as the 25th-best wideout in the 2016 class. Anderson has not replied to numerous messages over the last few days. Anderson posted on Twitter last week that he expected to move into LSU’s campus on Monday. Classes began Wednesday.

Todd Peterman, Anderson’s high school coach at DeSoto High in Texas, said the snag regards Anderson’s previous high school. Anderson transferred before his senior season from West Mesquite to DeSoto. Anderson has completed his course work at DeSoto, Peterman said, but he needed to complete an online class in order to enroll at LSU.

Anderson was expected to finish the class Wednesday, Peterman said. The coach spoke to Anderson on Tuesday night. He’s hoping to begin classes at LSU soon.

Anderson was dismissed from West Mesquite’s football team and then a district committee ruled him ineligible to play his senior season at DeSoto.

The four early enrollees are part of a current 20-commitment recruiting class ranked No. 1 by most recruiting outlets.  White and Smith to The Advocate on Tuesday after physical exams at Tiger Stadium.

The early enrollees will join the rest of the team Wednesday for meetings and will begin winter training next week, White said.

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